|Tuesday, April 18, 2000,
University scraps entrance tests
Time-bound pay scales for
ST evasion despite barriers
BJP policies: YC protest on May 2
3-month remission for Punjab
Action against Bhattal
Civil hospitals await completion
gentleman with many memories
Nihangs flay Sikh scholars
Sikh manch formed
Pharmacists flay DHS
Massacre: Badals plea to
DC suspends clerk
Human Rights Department yet to
Class I status for DDPOs, BDPOs
Dalits demand separate law
Double shift move opposed
Cop chases down robber
DIG to probe Ahmediya killing
Travel agent issues
Cop commits suicide
Teachers flay move on directorates
School sans teacher
guidelines on sick units to be discussed
Trade Samiti threatens stir
scraps entrance tests
PATIALA, April 17 With an aim to increase the number of student admissions and to save several postgraduation courses from closure, Punjabi University today decided to scrap entrance tests for admission to 34 courses run in the campus here in the city.
In another significant move the university also decided to end the disparity of qualifying marks in graduation for admission to colleges and university campus courses. From this academic session students having less than 50 per cent marks in graduation would not be eligible for admission in either college or university.
Earlier, a student having 50 per cent marks was eligible for admission in college while for university the minimum requirement was strangely 45 per cent. This disparity came up last year when the university decided to scrap entrance test in few courses in the campus on the line of abolition of tests in the college two years ago. However, the minimum requirement of marks was more in colleges, leading to a year-long demand by them to either lower the eligibility criteria in colleges or hike that of the campus.
Dr Kuldip Singh Dhir, Dean, Academic Affairs, revealed that while last year about 10 courses were excluded from the entrance test list. The university has increased the abolition policy to 34 courses this year. The courses include master of anthropological linguistics and Punjabi languages, English, Hindi, Punjabi, education, hons. in Punjabi, Sanskrit, Persian, Urdu, Arabic, economics, history, political science, public administration, sociology, psychology, social work, philosophy, religious studies, defence and strategic studies, theatre and television, fine arts, music, M.Sc, M.Sc (astronomy and space science), master of library and information science, master of journalism and mass communication.
The course in which admissions will take place on the basis of entrance tests include master of science in physics, applied botany, chemistry, forensic science, geography, human biology, mathematics, sports science, zoology, master of computer applications, M. Tech, B. Tech., L.L.B., master of business economics, master of business administration, master international business, master of finance and control, master of commerce, bachelor of pharmacy, master of pharmacy, M.Sc. (biotechnology), M.Sc (microbial and food technology) and courses of M.Com and M.C.A. at
Talwandi Sabo.The entrance tests were introduced in 1993 by the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Joginder Singh Puar. The policy drew flak from a group of teachers who refused to agree to the argument of quality of students over quantity of students. Several rallies and dharnas were organised against the entrance tests forcing the university to abolish it first in colleges and then in a few university campus courses last year.
Dr Dhir justifying the scrapping in more courses this year told The Tribune that the move was pre-empted by a series of discussions and meetings of university authorities and academicians. He said it came up in the meetings that there was no point in continuing the tests in courses where the number of applicants was less than the number of seats offered.
Sources disclosed that a
number of courses in the university were facing closure
due to severe paucity of students and pressure was
mounting on the university to scrap entrance tests in
these subjects. Sources said the move also aimed to
generate more revenue as fee from students was the only
main source of universitys earnings. Last year, in
fact confusion resulted from universitys rapidly
changing policy regarding the entrance test. The
university first took entrance test in few courses and
when a number of seats remained vacant, invited
applications from students who had not taken the test.
This resulted in a chaos, as the number of students who
had scored less in graduation than others who had
prepared in the test were given admissions, while many
having higher marks were denied admission. Ultimately the
university had also to face a number of court cases on
pay scales for PCMS doctors
CHANDIGARH, April 17 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while presiding over a joint meeting of senior officers of the Health Department and representatives of the PCMS Doctors Association today announced that the notification for granting time-bound pay scales of 4, 9 and 14 years service to the doctors, as per recommendations of the Pay Commission, would be issued immediately.
The other demands, like conveyance, academic, higher qualification allowances and designation issue etc would be discussed by the implementation committee of the state government and appropriate solution be found within a month. The representative of the PCMS Association will be associated, according to a press note.
The Chief Minister also expressed concern over the non-availability and absence of medical officers in the dispensaries in rural areas. Most of the doctors were unwilling to serve in villages and the poor, who need them the most. Doctors in Punjab should take the lead in staying in villages, the places of their postings for attending emergencies so that the para-medical staff could follow them. He said the PCMS Association must take up this issue with the doctors fraternity and motivate their members for giving preference to serve the poor.
The patron of the PCMS Doctors Association, Dr M.S. Randhawa, while, expressing gratitude to the Chief Minister for paying sympathetic consideration to their demands, assured that they would leave no stone unturned for improving the health services in the rural and urban areas of the state.
The Health and Family Welfare Minister, Dr Baldev Chawla, and other officers concerned were present besides, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, president and general secretary of the Association, respectively.
in a press statement said the government also decided to
issue necessary notification within a week regarding the
demand for treating non-practising allowance as part of
pay for all intents and purposes, as was the case before
January 1, 1986.
BATHINDA: Sales Tax barriers erected at various entry points of the state by the Punjab Government in the recent past seem to have failed to deter the evaders as the evasion of sales tax is still continuing.
Official sources said in the past two months, the local mobile wing earned Rs 62 lakh by way of penalties imposed on sales tax evaders.
To earn the Rs 62 lakh penalty in February and March 2000, sales tax officials detained a number of vehicles carrying goods without valid documents relating to the sales tax in six districts of Punjab, including Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Faridkot, Ferozepore and Moga.
Sources said some of the vehicles carrying goods in the Punjab territory with the intention of evading tax could not be a caught as the mobile wing had been facing an acute shortage of staff. Presently, only two excise and taxation officers and three inspectors along with one Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner were manning the local mobile wing.
The sources said officials of the local mobile wing detained hundreds of vehicles in the past two months to earn penalty of lakhs of rupees despite the fact that evaders had been using cell phones and escort vehicles in their illegal operation and network of small roads connecting Punjab with Haryana and Rajasthan states providing safe escape routes in crises.
On the other hand, the officials of the mobile wing were not being reimbursed the money they were spending on hiring private taxis during their search operations. As the government vehicles were easily noticed by the evaders so the raiding parties of the mobile wing using the government vehicles were not producing good results.
The sources said traders had also devised new methods of sales tax evasion in connivance with transporters. The mobile wing authorities detected three methods in the recent past.
The methods included that certain traders had floated business firms in the pockets of Punjab near the tax barriers. They used to bring goods from the neighbouring states to the newly created firms on genuine invoices through escape routes and then used to destroy the bills when the goods reached the destinations safely. In Punjab, they used to enjoy unhindered transaction by issuing new bills.
Some of the traders were bringing goods from the neighbouring states into the name of those firms which had wound up or had got their sales tax licences cancelled. The third method was that certain traders were bringing the goods from outside in the name of two firms, one registered in Punjab and the other registered in its neighbouring state. When the goods reached Punjab, they used to unload all goods at one point and in this way they were evading sales tax.
A senior officer of the
mobile wing told The Tribune on the condition of
anonymity that the Punjab Government should give powers
to the mobile wing for the cancellation of the driving
licence of driver and registration certificate of the
vehicle used in sales tax evasion and this scheme would
produce benefit for the department.
may hold back wheat
LUDHIANA, April 17 A wide gap between the minimum support price (MSP) and the issue price of wheat announced this year by the Government of India threatens to upset the delicate equilibrium between wheat arrivals and its procurement by official agencies and private traders in Punjab.
The MSP for wheat has been set at Rs 580 per quintal by the Centre this year. The issue price for wheat through fair price shops has been fixed at Rs 900 per quintal.
According to sources in the wheat trade at Khanna, Asias biggest grain market, the wide difference between the procurement price and the issue price may encourage big farmers to hold back stocks in the hope of making a quick profit later. This difference will also attract private traders in a big way to Punjab mandis.
Officials in the Food Department and the FCI expect the private trade to play a much larger role in wheat procurement operations in Punjab this year as compared to previous years. Traders from outside the state are also expected to make major purchases. Private traders purchased about one lakh tonnes of wheat last year. This year, purchases may be of the order of five lakh tonnes or higher.
The estimates prepared by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, show that the overall yield of the wheat crop in the state is likely to be lower this year due to prolonged and deficient rains.
According to estimates of the Punjab Agriculture Department, wheat production is expected to be around 140 lakh tonnes from 33.38 lakh hectares. Last year, wheat production in Punjab was around 140 lakh tonnes.
But of the 140 lakh tonnes of wheat, not more than 90 lakh is expected to reach grain markets of the state.
A total of 1554 mandis have been set up in Punjab for procurement of wheat. Of these 446 have been allotted exclusively to the FCI while another 49 are shared with the state government procurement agencies. The remaining 1059 mandis have been allotted to the Food and Civil Supplies Department, Markfed, Punsup, PSWC and PAIC.
Wheat procurement has begun in right earnest. Wheat arrivals so far total 2.39 lakh MT of which 2.10 lakh MT has been procured by the FCI and the state government procurement agencies at rates varying between Rs 580 and Rs 675 per quintal.
wheat even on holidays, orders Punjab
CHANDIGARH, April 17 The Punjab Government today ordered the procurement of wheat in the grain markets even on holidays, including Saturday and Sunday.
The Punjab Food and Supply Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, who held a meeting with officials of the state procurement agencies concerned this afternoon, told TNS that he had issued instructions to procure wheat even on holidays.
Mr Mittal said while the FCI had been allotted 33 per cent procurement quota, the state government agencies would procure the remaining 67 per cent of the wheat to be procured for the central pool. Though the department had made arrangements to procure 90 lakh tonnes of wheat he expected that the wheat arrivals till the end of the procurement season would be around 80 lakh tonnes, Mr Mittal said.
When asked why the FCI had reduced its share in procurement, Mr Mittal said that even during the last paddy season, the FCI had procured 32 per cent of paddy as against its share of 40 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Agriculture Department authorities say that a new record in wheat would be set up if the weather remained farmer-friendly during the harvesting period lasting next three weeks or so.
Capt Deep Singh Sahota, Director, Agriculture Department, says that wheat output in the state was expected to be more than 145 lakh tonnes this year against last years figure of 144.60 lakh tonnes.
We are a little worried about the kandi belt where sowing was delayed due to inclement weather. And also about Ferozepore belt where wheat was sown early. In both cases early and late sowing the yield was affected, Mr Sahota said. However, reports received from Sangrur, Ludhiana, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib districts had indicated better yield per acre than last year, he added.
Till date 2.39 lakh
tonnes of wheat has arrived in the grain markets in
Punjab of which 2.10 lakh tonne has been procured. The
arrival of wheat has started mainly in Ferozepore,
Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Sangrur and Ludhiana districts.
BATHINDA, April 17 More than 3,000 metric tonnes of wheat has been procured by the state, central agencies and private traders from 99 purchase centres set up in this district up to April 16.
Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy
Commissioner, said that out of total 99 purchase centres,
all the agencies would procure wheat jointly from nine
centres. He added that the FCI had been allocated 31
centres exclusively, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab Warehousing
Corporation 17 each and the Punjab Agro three.
BJP policies: YC protest
on May 2
CHANDIGARH, April 17 Fired with the motto of Service, leadership and vision, the Indian National Youth Congress will hold its first national-level protest outside Parliament House in Delhi on May 2 against anti-poor and anti-youth policies of the government while Congress President Sonia Gandhi will simultaneously take up the issue inside Parliament.
Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, President of the Indian National Youth Congress, stated this at a press conference organised at Punjab Congress Bhavan in Sector 15 here today.
Saying that Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee had proved to be the most expensive Prime Minister of the country, Mr Surjewala said policies being adopted by the BJP-led alliance were taking its toll on the common man.
Listing issues on the agenda for the protest, Mr Surjewala said defreezing of government jobs, both central and state, disinvestment, allowing import of 10,557 items used by the common man, hike in the diesel, kerosene, LPG and urea prices and the 150 per cent increase in the prices of the items distributed through the public distribution system were among other issues to be touched.
About the review of the Constitution, Mr Surjewala said that it was a strategy of the government to create communal tension in an effort to garner votes as was done in the Babri masjid case and to deny the basis rights to Dalits and the minorities.
How could the Constitution made by the Constituent Assembly, involving nearly 25000 persons and taking three years for completion, be reviewed by six persons some of whom are propelled by ill-feelings? he asked.
The review was a farce and the latent agenda of the BJP was to withdraw the provision of special protection to the minorities in education and curb propagation of their religions. The basic tenets of our Constitution are socialism and secularism and the BJP-led government wants to change these. We will resist it at all costs and not allow communal tension to take place, he stated.
Speaking on the first state-level campaign to be launched, Mr Surjewala said the Youth Congress had turned its eyes on Punjab where Mr Prakash Singh Badal was wreaking havoc. Mr Badal had emptied the coffers of the state and conveniently blamed it on the Congress.
There are no finances to give salaries and electricity to the urban areas is expensive while farmers have no power supply. Also, Dalits in the state are being exploited and members of the panchayats are being suppressed. We will organise over 100 meetings at the grassroots level in the state during the programme spread over an entire week, he disclosed.
About anti-dumping in
the post-liberalisation period, he said there was need
for making the six-member anti-dumping bureau stronger.
In response to another question on protection of
indigenous industry in the post-GATT period, Mr Surjewala
said the industry could be protected to a certain extent
as had been done in the USA.
remission for Punjab convicts
LUDHIANA, April 17 Ridiculing the former SGPC president, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra claim of dethroning the Badals government through an agitational programme, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said his claim was akin to waving a sword in the air.
Mr Badal was talking to mediapersons after attending a religious function of the Jain community here today. He called Mr Tohra a failed politician and said that he should instead spend his time in bhajan-kirtan.
He also lambasted the Lok Bhalai party of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and said both Mr Ramoowalia and Mr Tohra indulged in negative politics.
He was replying to a question about allegations made by these leaders on Rajasansi Airport and the Bathinda oil refinery.
Later, addressing a gathering at Ludhiana Central Jail, after inaugurating the library built in memory of freedom fighter. Giani Harbans Singh, Mr Badal announced a remission of three months of the terms of all prisoner presently lodged in various jails of Punjab.
He also announced a grant for making a verandah outside the library,. more books for the library and sanctioned four new coloured television sets for jail inmates. He also announced that the remaining stretch of road between Mehtpur and Ghurala named after Giani Harbans Singh would be metalled.
Two convicts serving life terms at the Ludhiana Central Jail will manage the newly constructed library.
Charan Singh an inmate said the library would provide an opportunity to the 1308 inmates (convicts and undertrials) while away their free hours ways other than watching television.
The library has been built in memory of Freedom Fighter, Giani Harbans Singh who was hanged at the old Ludhiana Central Jail on April 3, 1944.
The Jail Superintendent, Mr Amarjit Singh says: Presently the library houses 1200 books and we subscribe for 16 newspapers in English, Hindi and Punjabi. The books that are available in this library deal with religion, fiction and Punjabi culture.
While books worth Rs 25,000 have been donated by the SGPC, several books worth Rs 10,000 have been purchased from the Languages Department. We are also likely to get another set of books from the SGPC, he says.
Meanwhile, Manjit Singh, who is also in charge of the library, told Tribune News Service that on an average 35 to 40 books were being issued from the library to the jail inmates each day. Almost a similar number also comes and sits here in the library to browse through the reading material available, he says.
Mr Harbaksh Singh, son of the martyr in whose memory the library has been constructed, when contacted, said that though he was happy that a memoir had been established for his father, it would have been better if it could have been established at the Old Central Jail.
against Bhattal likely
PATIALA, April 17 The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) is making out a case for initiating disciplinary proceedings against dissident leader and former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal which is likely to be put up before the high command for action.
Informed sources told TNS that the PPCC was gathering information about the alleged dissident activities of Mrs Bhattal and reports in this regard were being sought from various District Congress Committee chiefs.
While a few district presidents have sent initial reports informing the party president about the dissident activities, they have been asked to submit written reports about the functions held by dissidents in their respective areas. Care is being taken to focus on the parallel meetings held by the dissidents in the recent past and to nail them on this score.
A few district presidents are likely to be in Chandigarh on April 19 to submit a detailed written report to party general secretary in charge of Punjab, Moti Lal Vora on his visit there as well as give first hand information about particular cases of the violation of party discipline. These cases will then be taken up with the party high command.
PPCC President Capt Amarinder Singh when contacted on the issue here today refused to be drawn into the controversy. He however said he would not tolerate indiscipline. He said he was confident the high command would take serious note of the parallel meetings held by the dissidents. The high command will never allow a parallel organisation to come up which usurps the powers of the PPCC, he said adding Mr Vora was also of similar views.
Capt Amarinder Singh said Mrs Bhattal was a legislator and was welcome to tour her constituency and home district but she had no locus standi to hold political meetings in Dera Bassi and Jandiala Guru as had happened in the past. He said, Mrs Bhattal should play the role of a father figure being a former president of the party instead of indulging in block level and district-level politics. No other former state party chief is acting in such a manner, he added. He also called upon Mrs Bhattal to participate in political activity according to a programme chalked out by the PPCC under which protest rallies would be held in all districts up to the block-level.
Meanwhile striking a strident note, Capt Amarinder said there was a total ban on press statements and nobody could go to the Press. If anybody has any grouse he can approach the party general secretary or the party president. He, however, declined to comment on the whether any action was envisaged against former minister Brahm Mohindra who had protested that no party meetings were being conducted by the party chief. He said Mr Mohindra apparently did not know what was happening in the party adding six party executive meetings had been held in the past one year and that the general body of the Pradesh Congress met only 10 days ago.
When questioned about
the statement of Bhattal loyalist and Gujjar leader
Somnath and whether any action was being taken against
him , he said he had asked the Patiala District Congress
Committee (Rural) president to ascertain whether Mr
Somnath was a Congress worker and if so to take note of
his utterances. He said he had not made any derogatory
statement against the Gujjar leader at a press conference
held at Jalandhar and had been quoted out of context in a
section of the press. He said he had high esteem for the
Gujjar community and the entire community was with him.
Civil hospitals await
AMRITSAR, April 17 The efforts of the Planning Commission to augment the secondary health care service in the holy city here have come to a naught owing to the apathy of the Punjab Government.
In a press note issued today by the General Secretary Punjab Pardesh Congress, Mrs Ratna, the Planning Commission has sanctioned an amount of Rs 11 crore to construct and equip one 150-bedded and four 20-bedded satellite hospitals in Amritsar city. The Planning Commission released the funds immediately but the state government failed to meet its obligations. She added the construction of Civil Hospital here was started in early 1998. After the funds sanctioned by the Planning Commission dried out, the construction work came to a standstill as the state government did not pool in its resources. She regretted that now a semi-finished concrete structure greets the patients. The Civil Hospital is now working in a make-shift building.
The National Building Construction Company has not been paid for the work executed by it for the civil hospital.
Mrs Ratna pointed out that the four satellite hospitals, which have been built on the periphery of the city, are also crying for attention. The NBCC claims to have completed three hospitals at Ranjeet Avenue, Ghanupur Kale and Gilwali Gate. But the state government has made no preparations to take over these hospitals.
She demanded that the State government should immediately release funds for their completion and give categorical assurance about intention to complete the hospital. She sought a probe into mismanagement of funds and to find out why the state government share was not released. The government owes an answer to innocent patients as it had failed to make timely preparations for starting of satellite hospitals.
Mrs Ratna added in case
the state government fails to release funds immediately
and take over the satellite hospitals without any further
delay, the Congress will launch an agitation to force the
government to complete these hospitals.
gentleman with many memories
CHANDIGARH, April 17 It was in 1992 that a distinguished-looking gentleman came over and said that something should be written about Giani Kartar Singh. Though one had heard a lot of stories about the legendary political figure, one wanted to find some documented information before one could proceed further.
"That's where I come in, said Jasdev Singh Sandhu. "I have everything that you would want on him." He proceeded to provide the documentation that resulted in an article and in learning a lot more which could not be printed at the time due to constraints of subject and space.
During the course of our subsequent discussions, one discovered that Jasdev Singh Sandhu, scion of a prominent family of the erstwhile Patiala state, was a political leader in his own right. Not only that, his wife, the late Sardarni Jasdev Kaur, too, was a former MLA.
Not just a big landlord, Jasdev Singh Sandhu, was well educated (a law graduate), fond of literature and also a writer. He was often seen interacting with authors and poets. He had been first elected an MLA from the Dhuri constituency in the Sangrur district in 1957 at the age of 28, perhaps the youngest MLA of the time.
He was elected from the Rajpura constituency in the Patiala district twice, in 1962 on the Congress ticket and in 1969 on the Akali Dal ticket.
He had been the Minister of State for Public Health and Colonisation from 1970-1971. He had been an active politician for a long time. Whether in or out of office, he gained a reputation for being a helpful, courteous person of integrity. His house in Adalat Bazaar, Patiala, was a popular meeting place where persons from various walks of life would gather every day. His soft-spoken and humble manner, and a low-key approach were quite disproportionate to the influence he wielded.
A long spell out of office normally spells the doom of any political leader. Jasdev Singh Sandhu was a peoples politician and he weathered it well. He had an abiding devotion to his political guru, Giani Kartar Singh, and he made sure that every anniversary of Giani Kartar Singh was remembered through newspapers. He would get articles written by eminent people published and would make sure that every time there was something different and interesting to be published.
A veritable walking encyclopaedia of men and matters concerning undivided Punjab, specially those relating to Giani Kartar Singhs role, he was someone who could be counted on to provide correct information.
Self-depreciating, he was full of anecdotes, especially those that involved his mentor. Once the division of India became inevitable, Jinnah asked Giani Kartar Singh what he could do for the latter personally. Giani ji replied that he wanted the transfer of population to be effected with minimum bloodshed. At this, Jinnah wrote a letter to all his administrative officers, asking them to ensure the security of any kafla that Giani ji accompanied. This was done and many lives were saved by Giani ji who would accompany kaflas, make arrangements for settling down the refugees on this side of the border and go back into Pakistan to get more kaflas out.
When he was out of the limelight of office, he maintained his contacts with the public and political leaders. His appointment as Chairman of the Subordinate Services Commission of Punjab was widely welcomed. Little did anyone know that he would be snatched away in a road mishap on the night of April 7. He was 71 and is survived by his son and two daughters.
Many will remember him
for the work he did in his constituency, for getting
schools upgraded and hospitals opened, getting financial
and other help for dharamshalas and so on. For others,
his gentle manner and many memories of crucial aspects of
Punjabi political developments will be a reason for
remembering him as well as missing him.
flay Sikh scholars remarks
FEROZEPORE, April 17 Cutting across party affiliations the Nihang Sikhs have criticised a section of the Sikh scholars for denouncing the Dasam Granth, believed to have been written by Guru Gobind Singh.
Resentful Nihangs, said the Dasam Granth was sacred text and no body could denounce it. The issue is likely to kick up a fresh controversy, with the Chandigarh-based Institute of Sikh Studies questioning certain portions of the text of the Dasam Granth.
The Institute had organised a seminar in Chandigarh on April 9, where certain scholars had flayed the RSS for using a part of the text of the Dasam Granth to their advantage.
The scholars had claimed that the controversial text did not conform to the Sikh philosophy and encouraged belief in re-incarnation. They also questioned portion that projected the Sikh Gurus as descendants of Luv and Kush, the two sons of Lord Rama. The RSS according to them, took advantage of this and had tried to bracket the Sikhs with the Hindu majority.
Today they are questioning the authenticity of the Granth, tomorrow they might even denounce the Guru, Budha Dal Chief Baba Santa Singh lamented. He charged the so-called scholars of engineering a split between the Hindus and the Sikhs by denouncing the text of the Dasam Granth.
He pointed out that the Dasam Granth proved the fact that Guru Gobind Singh was a Khashatirya of the Sodhi clan, who were the descendants of Luv and Kush By denouncing the Granth, they are apparently aiming to divide the Hindus and the Sikhs, he pointed out.
The head of the breakaway faction of the Budha Dal, Baba Balbir Singh also flayed the scholars for denouncing the Dasam Granth. When there are other issues to be addressed, why these scholars are raking up this controversy? he asked.
Baba Ajit Singh of the Tarna Dal said those denouncing the Granth were seekers of hell. We the Nihangs believe in the Dasam Granth and will continue to do so.
AMRITSAR, April 17 With a view to safeguarding maryada (Sikh traditions) and Sikh institutions, the local Sikh intellectuals, formed a body called Sikh Chintak Manch today with Mr R.S. Bindra as its convenor.
BATHINDA, April 17 The Punjab State Pharmacists Association today condemned the Director, Health Services (DHS) for not accepting their genuine demands.
In a press note issued here, Mr Bhoj Raj, vice-president of the association said the pharmacists would stage a dharna in front of the office of the DHS on May 4 to lodge their protest.
He added that their main
demands included the creation of the post of Deputy
Director, Pharmacy and posts of district pharmacy
officer, framing of transfer rules and the sanction of
right to practice after 10 years service.
Badals plea to Farooq
CHANDIGARH, April 17 Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today requested Dr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir to provide adequate security in 137 villages in the valley inhabited by Sikhs in view of the recent massacre at Chatti Singhpora in Anantnag district.
In a communiqué addressed to Dr Abdullah, he said a deputation of Sikh leaders from the valley called on him on April 8 and apprised him of the security needs of Sikh inhabitants of Poonch and Rajouri.
The deputation had requested for special recruitment by the Jammu and Kashmir Government to provide government jobs to Sikh inhabitants in the valley to provide them with financial security. Mr Badal said he had also taken up this matter with the Union Government for a similar recruitment drive pertaining to the offices of the central government central and the public sector undertakings in the valley.
Referring to the demands of the deputation for setting up a girls college at Srinagar, Mr Badal said he assured the delegation that the SGPC would be pleased to set up the college by contributing a sum of Rs 1 crore.
DC suspends clerk
ROPAR, April 17 The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, has suspended Gurdev Singh, registration clerk in the office of the Kharar S.D.M., for violating instructions of the government.
In a press note issued here today, Mr Grewal said the clerk had been found guilty of violating government instructions in the registration of 55 vehicles, purchased from outside the state, without the proof of entry tax.
Rights Department yet to start off
JALANDHAR, April 17 Even after lapse of about four months since its inception, the state unit of the Human Rights Department, set up by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), is yet to activate itself.
The state unit of the department was set up on December 10 last year. The national level body has Justice Ranganath Mishra as its chairman. Mr Umrao Singh a renowned sports enthusiast was appointed as chief of the state unit of the department by Mr A.K. Sood, the national secretary of the department.
The objective behind the move of the Congress was stated to generate awareness among people about their rights as well as duties. Mr Sood, in the letter of appointment of Mr Umrao Singh, had expressed hope that the work of the department would go to grassroots.
The department, according to Mr Umrao Singh has its headquarters in Jalandhar, but doesnt show any activity. Even its other office-bearers are not visible.
Mr Umrao Singh admits
that the state unit of the department was yet to start
working. We have not raised our voice on various
issues as we have yet to nominate office-bearers. We will
do that soon, said Mr Umrao Singh. The unit would
soon create necessary infrastructure. Office-bearers
would be appointed within three months.
status for DDPOs, BDPOs
CHANDIGARH, April 17 The Punjab Minister for Panchayats, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, said today in a statement that the state government had issued a notification conferring class-I status on all District Development and Panchayat Officers, Block Development and Panchayat Officers and Development Officers (women programme).
demand separate law
AMRITSAR, April 17 Mr Darshan Ratna Ravan, chief organiser of Aadi Dharam Samaj, addressing press persons here today said that Hindus had usurped the Ram Tirath historical temple which rightfully ought to be a Balmiki Tirath temple.
He said the identity crisis that Balmikis were facing would be fulfilled by protest rallies, one of which had been held on March 31 at Amritsar. More such rallies were slated for April 22 at Patiala April 30 at Jalandhar and May 30 for Ferozepore.
He blamed fundamentalist Hindu organisations for conversions saying these organisations were on one hand forcefully suppressing others and on the other claiming their supremacy over others.
He said protest rallies
would be staged to pressure the government to form a
separate act for Dalits and scrap the provisions of Act
25 by which Balmikis were included in the Hindu
fraternity. For this purpose a Balmiki woman wing would
also be set up.
shift move opposed
PATIALA, April 17
The Punjab Para-medical Staff Association PSEB has
opposed the move of the board to start double shift
timings of the dispensaries at the Head Office here. In a
press note issued here today, Mrs Jagdish Kaur and Mr
Avinash Gupta, President and General Secretary,
respectively, of the association, while opposing the
move, said the board follows the policy of the state
government in this regard. Under the policy, the
dispensaries have a single shift duty since May, 1982.
They said double shift would put more stress and burden
on the staff.
Cop chases down robber
PHAGWARA, April 17 Showing alacrity a sub-inspector, Satish Kumar chased down and caught one of three robbers who had robbed Rs 3000 and a silver bracelet from an STD booth at Guru Harkishan Nagar on Banga Road. According to the police three robbers wielding a knife and a gandasa robbed the booth on Saturday night and fled on an unnumbered scooter. The PCO owner rang up the police. Acting immediately, SI Satish Kumar chased down the robbers and fired in air to stop them around G.T. Road near the JCT Mill. The frightened robbers dropped the scooter and fled. But the SI grabbed one of them identified as Ranjit Singh, alias Jeeta of Goraya and recovered Rs 1000 from him.
probe Ahmediya killing
LUDHIANA, April 17 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident regarding the killing of an Ahmediya youth in the Jama Masjid here on the night of April 15.
According to the information available, the DIG of Ludhiana range. Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, has been asked to inquire into the incident. Even as the police today continued their search for the remaining four accused in the case, who have been evading arrest.
It is learnt that a delegation of various leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Vice-President of SAD, and Mr Jagjit Singh Ghungrana, Chairman of the Punjab Agro Industries, along with various Muslims led by Mr Atik-ur-Rehman today met the Chief Minister.
agent issues visas
BARNALA, April 17 Desperation to leave the country for greener pasture abroad has made Malva youth vulnerable to unscrupulous travel agents.
Nine rural youths of Barnala police district paid Rs 20 lakh to an unauthorised travel agent, Madan Lal Sharma, to send them to Australia.
However, they were in for a rude shock when they found that the visas stamped on their passport were forged.
A few months ago, Mr Rajinder Kumar, an advocate practising at Bathinda district returned to India after spending considerable time in various jails of Ukraine. He along with other Punjabi youth from the Malwa region lodged in Ukraine jails was tortured.
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, Barnala, said Madan Lal Sharma, who was operating from his office located near Mullanpur town in Ludhiana district, had promised more than 100 youths that he would send them to Australia and other countries. Madan Lal Sharma was operating in association with a Jalandhar-base and Delhi-based travel agent who have yet to be arrested.
Around 108 passport were recovered from the possession of accused, who was arrested about a week ago and has now been sent to judicial custody. The rubber stamp which the accused used to stamp visas on the passports is yet to recover.
The SSP said that one of the customers of Madan Lal Sharma had made a formal complaint against the travel agent.
JALANDHAR, April 17 (PTI) A police constable posted at the local police lines allegedly committed suicide by consuming poisonous pesticide tablets.
Teachers flay move on
LUDHIANA, April 17 Mr Pritpal Singh, president, Primary Government Teachers Union, has condemned the decision of the Punjab Government to abolish the Primary Education Directorate and form the Elementary Education Directorate.
In a statement here, he said due to the decision, the primary teachers would lose their promotion chances and the facilities which were being given to primary teachers.
He said if the government did not withdraw its decision, the teachers would be forced to agitate.
In another demand, Mr Singh said female teachers should be exempted from performing to avoid harassment to them.
In another statement,
members of the Joint Action Committee, Punjab, Mr Piara
Singh Dhillon, Mr Mohinder Singh Heer and Mr Ajit Singh
said a delegation of the committee would give a
memorandum to the Education Secretary on May 2. They also
informed that the committee would also present a
memorandum to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister,
Punjab on May 3, in support of their demands.
GARHSHANKAR, April 17 Government High School, Bhawanipur, is facing a number of problems because of the negligence of the state Education Department.
There are no teachers and no other infrastructure.
The post of Headmaster has been lying vacant since March, 1996. The post of mathematics teacher has been lying vacant since November 10, 1999, and that of science teacher since October 20. The building of the school is a shambles. There are crevices in the walls and the roofs are in bad shape.
RBI guidelines on sick
units to be discussed
LUDHIANA, April 17 The Punjab Government has convened a meeting of representatives of 14 nationalised banks and leaders of the Northern India Federation of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings at Chandigarh tomorrow to discuss the implementation of RBI guidelines regarding compromise settlements for sick small industrial units.
Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary, Industries, and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will preside over the meeting which is being held amidst widespread complaints from the industry about the failure of the nationalised banks to implement the BRI guidelines.
A communication from Mr Kanti K. Bahl, president of the federation to the Industries Secretary complains that the banks have been trying to find one excuse or the other to deny the benefit of the new RBI guidelines to small units. Major points on which the banks and the units differ are the date of sickness of the unit, the rate of interest to be charged which was being wrongly sought to be linked with the value of the collateral security, the charging of interest on the amount of claims received from the DICGC in the account of the party and no consideration shown where the borrower had lost everything due to natural calamity and the banks have received full claims from the insurance companies.
Samiti threatens stir
LUDHIANA, April 17 The Industry and Trade Sangharash Samiti (Punjab) was threatened to launch a state-wide agitation against the alleged wrong economic policies of the state government and implication of trade and industry leaders in false cases.
In a press note released here today, Mr Balwant Rai, Convener of the Samiti, informed that they would stage a dharna and observe a token fast in front of the office of the deputy commissioner and would also submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the deputy commissioner.
The Sangharash Samiti is
demanding the withdrawal of alleged false cases against
Mr Harish Khanna and other industrialists of Dasmesh
Nagar, review of economic and anti-trade and
anti-industry policies, and withdrawal of tax hike in
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